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The Unholy Three (1925)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 16 August 1925 (USA)
A sideshow ventriloquist, midget, and strongman form a conspiracy known as "The Unholy Three" and commit a series of robberies.

Director:

Tod Browning

Writers:

Clarence Aaron 'Tod' Robbins (story) (as Tod Robbins), Waldemar Young (scenario)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Lon Chaney ... Echo - The Ventriloquist
Mae Busch ... Rosie O'Grady
Matt Moore ... Hector McDonald
Victor McLaglen ... Hercules
Harry Earles ... Tweedledee
Matthew Betz ... Detective Regan
Edward Connelly ... Judge
William Humphrey ... Attorney for the Defense (as William Humphreys)
E. Alyn Warren ... Prosecuting Attorney (as A.E. Warren)
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Storyline

Three sideshow performers leave their lives of captivity and become "The Unholy Three." Echo the ventriloquist assumes the role of a kindly old grandmother who runs a bird shop. Tweedledee, the "twenty inch man," becomes her grandbaby, and Hercules is their assistant. Soon an incredible crime wave is launched from their little store. Written by David Ezell <dezell@cody.gac.peachnet.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 August 1925 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Trindade Maldita See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$103,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$704,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White | Color (tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While getting ready for the role, Chaney remembered a thief he met when he traveled in his youth. He borrowed the man's attitude and mannerism. See more »

Goofs

For a couple of shots when Echo & The Kid are at Mr. Arlington's house, Harry Earles (the actor playing The Kid) accidentally left his wedding ring on his finger. See more »

Quotes

Professor Echo, the ventriloquist, aka Mrs. 'Granny' O'Grady: What a bonehead I was to overlook that!
[shows Hercules and Tweedledee the newspaper which mentions the police investigating Hector's alibi at the store]
Professor Echo, the ventriloquist, aka Mrs. 'Granny' O'Grady: That means an investigator coming back to the store, but there *won't* be a Granny O'Grady anymore.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Turner Classic Movies showed an 86-minute version with a music and sound effects that was recorded in the 1970s by MGM from a stock music library for syndication. The tints for this edition are incorrect. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Cemetery Man (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Another Chaney Chiller
19 January 2002 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

Vowing revenge on the world of ‘normal' people, a sideshow ventriloquist, strong man & dwarf band together as THE UNHOLY THREE.

Following Lon Chaney's great film successes at Universal Studios, Irving Thalberg managed to entice the actor to come to MGM. Anxious to repeat the box office bonanzas of Chaney's recent past, Thalberg signed a one-picture deal with Chaney's favorite director, Tod Browning. The resulting film, THE UNHOLY THREE, was such a hit that Thalberg quickly signed Browning for a long-term contract.

Based on a story by Tod Robbins (who would also pen the inspiration for FREAKS), Browning would give the film an appropriately menacing atmosphere, with flashes of comedic wit at just the right intervals. A crime caper rather than a horror film, the chills are saved for right near the end with the rampages of a ferocious ape (actually a chimpanzee, photographed out of proportion) which no one seems surprised to find in a bird store.

While ventriloquism may seem an odd pastime to depict in a silent movie, Chaney made it all seem so sensible. A consummate artist who only now is starting to receive the proper accolades, Chaney did not need to contort limb or face to portray a little old lady. All he needed was a wig & a dress. So well was he received in this role that it was chosen to be remade five years later as Chaney's talking debut.

Muscular Victor McLaglen (a British Army champion athlete) and tiny Harry Earles (one of the few adult actors who could disguise himself as a baby) give very solid support as Chaney's wicked cronies; much of the favorable outcome of the film is due to them.

Pensive Mae Busch scores as the waifish pickpocket allied with Chaney; this very talented actress would get to shine a few years later in a series of appearances with Laurel & Hardy. In his one scene as a stern judge, Edward Connelly lends his saturnine presence to the proceedings.


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